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Incentives to Attract Meetings and Professionals

Tourism is important to the economy

of any state, but a focused attempt to attract business professionals in particular is an ever growing trend. DeRaad gave AZME a run-down of the incentives Tucson is offering to encourage meeting planners to consider Arizona as a destination. “For qualified groups, we at Visit Tucson will match group master account reductions offered by our member hotels and resorts. Tis program makes meetings more affordable for meeting planners. In addition, we offer a “You Fly, We Buy” incentive where we pay the airfare for meeting planners to visit, provided they have active RFPs and an interest in bringing meetings to Tucson. We’re also beginning to work with planners to cover some transportation costs if they organize group excursions to one of our fantastic attractions.”


Emphasis on Charity Pino has noticed a trend in the

residents and visitors to the community she’s called home for 40 years ... charity. From well-known festivals and shopping promotions to the Annual Holiday Open House and the Annual Teddy Bear Day – when gently hugged teddy bears are donated to the police and fire departments – Glendale and the West Valley know how to give back. And visitors to this area have been eager to join in. Pino states, “An emphasis on charity

has become an important element to the planning of meetings and events. Tis new emphasis was seen during the 2013 Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism held in Tucson, not long aſter the loss of 19 firefighters – members of an elite unit called the Granite Mountain

Chandler Art Walk

Hotshots – while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire. Attendees of the conference gave generous donations, and the centerpieces at the evening reception were raffled to send proceeds to the Yarnell community.” “We’re doing great things for charity

and attendees are able to enjoy their time and give back at the same time,” said Pino. “We’re certainly leaving them with a lasting impression of our community.” She noted that the positive economic impact from the work of the Glendale CVB is far reaching, and while that is their number one goal, there’s more to it than that. “At the end of the day it’s nice to know we’re making a difference in the lives of people who need it,” she said.

from the economic instability of the last few years, supporting locally produced products has become an ever important priority. Arizona takes pride in its locally grown food and in its world-renowned artists and artisans. Tis pride has expressed itself in a determination to give visitors a uniquely Arizonan experience.


The Local Experience As the country continues to recover

To that end, Tucson held its first ever Toole Avenue Art Walk in December of 2013. Tis art walk was specifically created to give visitors and locals a glimpse at what the beauty and culture of the state have inspired local artists to create. Local First Arizona is a non-profit

organization created to support locally owned business and to strengthen the connections and economies of Arizona communities. Tis organization notes on their About Us page, “Consumers have grown leery of the false sense of savings promised by national chain stores and are becoming acutely aware of the homogenization of our communities. As a result, an explosion of sorts is occurring in Arizona and elsewhere as people look to define a sense of place, community, and quality of life for their families and their futures.” Plan your meeting in Arizona to

experience our unique culture first-hand. Susie Molinich, CMP, SMMC, is the

Global Account Manager at American Express Meetings & Events. Additionally, she holds the position of VP of Education on the Board of Directors for AzMPI. Julia-Isabel Davenport, MBA, PMP,

CMP, is the Vice-President, Membership, AZ Sunbelt Chapter Meeting Professionals International (AzMPI). Davenport is also owner of Maximize Your Publicity, a boutique consulting firm. Brent DeRaad was hired in April 2012 as

President & Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau, now known as Visit Tucson. Lorraine Pino is Glendale’s Convention

& Visitors Bureau Manager. She also serves as the Phoenix and Central representative for the Arizona Office of Tourism Local Visitor Information Center Advisory Board.

Schnepf Farms Peach Blossom Festival | 13

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